Vernon Fiddler played for the Kelowna Rockets from 1997 to 2001. He went undrafted but ended up playing in over 800 NHL games. File photo

Ex-Rocket joins Kelowna coaching staff

Vernon Fiddler played for the Rockets from 1997-2001, now joins as assistant coach

The Kelowna Rockets have brought back one of their alum as a new assistant coach.

Vernon Fiddler will join the Rockets’ coaching staff this upcoming season along side head coach Adam Foote, who played against Fiddler during their NHL careers.

Rockets’ general manager announced the move Wednesday morning, and Fiddler said he’s looking forward to re-joining the Kelowna franchise.

“I’m really grateful for the opportunity that Bruce has given me,” said Fiddler.

“In 1997 he gave me the chance to play junior hockey and that’s how I’m looking at this opportunity again, it’s kind of like déjà vu for me. I’m really excited to work with Adam Foote and (assistant coach) Kris Mallette on the bench.”

Fiddler played for Kelowna from 1997-2001 and banked 200 games with the Rockets before moving on to the NHL. Fiddler is one of only two players ever to go undrafted into the NHL and play more than 800 games.

READ MORE: NHLer packed charity game raises $212,000 for Kelowna’s JoeAnna’s House

READ MORE: Okanagan FC add two wins after challenging road trip

Fiddler was an organizational coach with the Dallas Stars this past season, helping with skills and development with Dallas. He was well known for his defensive play, which is something the Rockets will look for him to impart with Kelowna’s young core.

“I’m excited for our staff, but more importantly our players,” said coach Foote. “In my opinion, from the years I played against Fiddler I thought he had a really high hockey IQ and I loved how he played with confidence.”

“He brings wisdom and years of his experience that our players have not had that in the forward position that can help teach them. I feel we’re very fortunate to have a guy of this level on our team.”

READ MORE: Ex-Rocket Fiddler calls it a career

During his 14 seasons in the NHL , Fiddler totalled 261 points in 877 games and looks to make an immediate impact for the Rockets on their Memorial Cup run this season.

“From the things I’ve learned over the years and to develop into an NHL player I think that I can help these young guys,” said Fiddler.

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